Climb For America's Children

3705 Arctic Blvd #1124   Anchorage, Alaska 99503
907-522-7777  E-mail

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Denali 2001-2002 Expedition
( Expedition Duration 23 Days )

Mount McKinley‘s (the name Denali is an Alaska Native word for the mountain which means the "The High One") elevation is 20,320 feet (6190M), the highest mountain in North America. Denali was renamed Mount McKinley for William McKinley, a nominee for president, by Princeton graduate and gold prospector, William Dickey. Dickey was one of hundreds of prospectors seeking gold in the 1896 Cook Inlet stampede. He had written an article for the New York Sun where he described the mountain as the highest in North America at over 20,000 feet." When asked later why he named the mountain after McKinley, Dickey replied that the verbal bludgeoning he had received from free silver partians had inspired him to retaliate with the name of the gold-standard champion." McKinley is one of the world’s greatest expedition challenges with a vertical relief greater than any other mountain on the planet (18,000 feet), making it a world-class expedition. While McKinley is exceeded in elevation by peaks in South America and Asia, its arctic environment carries extreme conditions; temperatures even in summer average 20 to 40 degrees below zero during the day (and colder at night, with recorded temperatures of 148 degrees below zero). Severe storms with 100 mph+ hurricane-force winds and great height above the Alaska plain make it a severe test of personal strength, teamwork and logistics.

No peak in the world has greater relief: Denali rises 18,000 feet above its surrounding plain, compared to Kilimanjaro (14,000 feet) and Everest (13,000 feet); from our landing spot on the Kahiltna Glacier Denali’s summit rises another 13,000 feet.

Because of these challanges and extreme conditions it was not until 1913 that the first successful ascent of McKinley was made by a group of four, led by Hudson Stuck and Harry Karstens. Climbing a high mountain is a serious undertaking with much demand on one’s body. This demanding experience can only be enjoyed if one is prepared, therefore physical fitness is one of the subjective hazards of mountaineering over which we can exert a great deal of control. It is especially important for the mountaineer to realize that being fit can make dealing with objective hazards less dangerous. One’s physical capacity for mountaineering is determined primarily by one’s level of aerobic power and physical strength. Long hikes in the mountains or hills is the best form of preparation.

There is no such thing as a walk up route on Denali. We will be carrying heavy loads and dragging massive sleds daily. Sleeping and eating conditions will not always be ideal and severe storms may keep us tent-bound for days. We must prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the many challenges of the climb. At any point in time you can make a step in the wrong direction while on a ridge roped and harnessed in with a 2500 ft. vertical drop on one side and a 4500 ft. vertical sure death drop on the other side or step on a glacier cravass and have tons of ice crunch you like an egg. Furthermore, you could get caught in an avalanche with hundreds of tons of snow and ice turning you into frozen scrambled eggs, need we say more.

We as climbers are risking our lives to save children's lives, do not be confused, every year people die on Denali. It has been said that if you are climbing Denali, get your affairs in order first. People working around the mountain offer to buy your life insurance in order to cash in if you don't come back, the odds are better than the lottery. You see, if the fall doesn't kill you the cold snow, ice, below zero temperatures or altitude sickness will.

It was said by the climbing team in late October of 1981 who recorded one of the lowest temperatures on record on the summit of Mt. Everest, "a cold day on Mt. Everest is a tropical/a warm day on Denali/Mt. McKinley. Our point is climbing Denali is not a walk in the park.

Environmental Statement

Any person who becomes a wilderness mountaineer has a deep and abiding responsibility to help preserve the wilderness environment for the present and future generations. Walking softly is a fair start. The mountain regions throughout the world constitute the domain of mountaineering. This dwindling and finite resource depends on the wilderness traveler for its future preservation.

Mountaineering: The freedom of the Hills, 1992

The climbing team of Climb For America’s Children is committed to the above philosophy and climbing clean, leaving nothing on the mountains. The following statement outlines the methods and procedures that will be maintained, throughout the entire expedition.

The most important part of clean climbing is planning ahead, which is a major part of the climb. This expedition began in 2001 and is a time intensive undertaking, which micromanages every part of the expedition in order to insure its successful conclusion.

Leave nothing in the mountains. The Denali 2001-2002 Expedition team will carry out everything brought in including human waste.

Litter removal: Everything MUST be carried off the mountain.

Each team member of the expedition has a personal responsibility to manage his or her garbage and waste on the way up and down the mountain.

Human waste and sanitation: The Climb For America’s Children Expedition will use a scientifically formulated blend of polymers and enzymes in specially designed plastic bags to manage human waste. It is first contained and then converted into environmentally friendly waste, and then the enzymes begin to consume the waste products. When there is nothing left for the enzymes to feed on, they consume themselves, leaving basic salts and water. The result is an environmentally friendly and sanitary bag that can be disposed of in any trash container.

All trash monitoring and human waste, will be managed in strict accordance to new industry guidelines under development, which may include our expedition participating in the actual study where the expedition food would be weighed at base camp using a spring scale and tripod, meal planning and packaging techniques would be noted at the beginning. Upon the expedition’s return to base camp all left over food and trash would be weighed separately. The trash would be checked to make sure it contained only food trash and scientifically manufactured environmentally friendly human waste bags with the salt and water end result. No gear will be incorporated into this study for waste other than miscellaneous waste or excess water weight.

Conclusion: The issue of trash and human waste in pristine environments such as the remote and hostile regions of Denali will continue to present challenges to the people who use them. The climbing community as a whole, is more aware of these challenges and collaborative efforts to raise awareness and seek solutions seems to be prevailing. The future progression of The Climb For America’s Children Team and the climbing community itself will be to utilize every possible environmental strategy and technique available. Some of the opportunities are “The Clean Mountain Can” prototypes waste disposal units, and following the guidelines of “Leave No Trace” a booklet being published by an environmental non-profit organization - Outdoor Skills and Ethics for glaciated environments such as Denali. This publication is gathering information from the Denali National Park, The American Alpine Club and other environmentally conscious organizations


Home | Founders Statement | Mission Statement | Promotional Campaign | Who Benefits | How the Program Works
 Board of Directors | Pledge | Denali Expedition | Endorsements
| Promotional Team | Climbing Team
Environmental Statement | Sponsors | Official Sponsorship Opportunities | Benefits of Sponsorship | Calendars